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the same time, a very marked revival of prayerful zeal and earnestness was seen among the Professors of the College, and professors of religion generally. Religion soon became a topic of general conversation among pious people. Professors of religion among the students embraced occasions for religious conversation with some of those for whose conversion they had been specially pleading in their prayer-meeting. They found, almost to their joyful astonishment, that among some of their fellow-students who had been careless, if not in some instances profane, there was a deep concern already felt. To these they suggested the importance of forming among themselves a separate prayer-meeting for that distinct class. Such society was at once formed of some eight or ten. In a short time, others were found to be awakened, and were encouraged to form a second prayer-meeting of non-professors, now awakened and anxious. And so, as the religious interest increased, societies were formed among the students in their rooms, professors and non-professors, as also among the Christian people of the town, and out among the congregations in the country. Scarcely an evening through the week, or on Sabbaths, that there were not prayer-meetings in town and country.
These numerous prayer-meetings, the concerted prayers and earnest conferences were abundant in their fruits. Besides many additions of the hopeful converts that were added to many congregations in that vicinity, not a few young men who left their homes thoughtless of their soul's eternal interests, and who had never bowed a knee to God, became active in the cause of religion, changed their purposes in regard to a profession and their future life, devoted themselves to the ministry, and became faithful and successful ambassadors for Christ.
One lesson more we may learn from these college narratives and prayer-meeting incidents. No two students, professors of religion, at any college, should suffer themselves to spend one single session without forming a prayermeeting, and connecting with it some special object of persevering, united prayer. And until this obtains, in spirit and in truth, can we expect our colleges to be really fountains from which streams shall issue gladdening the city of our God? What can be more becoming or more encouraging than for candidates for the ministry, while engaged in preparatory studies, and constantly in contact with promising, though unconverted youths, to form prayer-meetings, and in concert wrestle for the salvation of their fellow-students, who, if by grace were snatched from the control of Satan, might become champions in the cause of Christ ?
In this connection we shall detain the reader with one more college reference.
Dr. Green, late President of the College at Princeton, writing to Dr. Sprague, says:
“While I was a member of college, there were but two professors of religion among the students, and not more than five or six who scrupled to use profane language in common conversation. To the influence of the American war succeeded that of the French revolution, still more pernicious. The open and avowed Infidelity of Paine and other writers of the same character produced incalculable injury to religion and morals throughout our whole country.”
In this condition of society and of the college, a revival visitation was enjoyed, of which the writer proceeds to make some very interesting statements :
“In about four weeks, there were very few individuals in the college who were not deeply impressed with a sense of the importance of spiritual and eternal things. There was scarcely a room, perhaps not one, which was not a place of earnest, secret devotion. For a time it seemed as if the whole of our charge was pressing into the kingdom of God. The result was, that of one hundred and five students, there were more than forty in regard to whom favorable hopes were entertained that they were the subjects of grace.”
In regard to the means used for the promotion of this revival, it is added :
"The few youths who were previously pious, had, for more than a year, been earnestly engaged in prayer for this event. When they perceived the general and increasing seriousness, several of them agreed to speak privately and tenderly to their particular acquaintances on the subject of religion ; and what they said was, in almost every instance, not only well received, but those with whom they conversed became earnestly engaged in those exercises, which, it is hoped, have issued in genuine piety.
“In preaching on the Lord's day morning, subjects were selected suited to the existing state of the College-a prayer-meeting was held every Friday evening, at which one of the Professors of Theology commonly made an address. A prayer-meeting was every evening held by the students themselves-smaller and more select associations were held for prayer; the individuals whose minds were anxious, were, as often as they requested it, carefully conversed and prayed with in private."
While in this example we see, as in other cases, the importance of social and concerted prayer, we also have illustrated the importance of conference, not only in the prayer-meeting, but privately and with the special objects of solicitude. Must not every prayer-meeting be necessarily defective without conference? And when they are held pursuant to agreement for special prayer, it would seem important to success to obtain private conference with the objects of our special prayers.
The author of “Revival Sketches” gives a very interesting account of a revival in his own congregation, Pittsfield, Mass., in which he says:
“The narrative would be quite incomplete if I were to close it here. In all revivals God works by means and instrumentalities, and some may be glad to know what course was here adopted.
“Our general course of preaching and incidental labors was as follows: Three discourses on the Sabbath, one of which was always in the evening. Two public lectures on week-day evenings, preceded by a short prayer-meeting a little before sundown; occasional lectures and prayer-meetings in the out-districts, one object of which was to bring as many as we could to attend the central lectures ; an inquiry meeting every Monday evening, and a church prayermeeting at the same hour. Besides these, a great many smaller neighborhood meetings were attended.”
The principal lesson of instruction in this reference is, the importance of such arrangement in regard to the prayer-meeting as will bring every family and every individual under its influence, as well as to the enjoyment of the public ordinances of the gospel. No pastor or session of a congregation should rest satisfied with any system of administration that fails to supply all with the privilege of the prayer-meeting; or fails to induce the attendance of all. Every available interest should be given to "the many smaller neighborhood meetings," to induce, if possible, as large an aggregate attendance on the prayer-meetings as on the regular public Sabbath service.
FROM THE MIDDLE OF THIS CENTURY TILL THE COM
MENCEMENT OF THE REVIVAL OF 1857, A PERIOD OF
INTENSE POLITICAL AND RELIGIOUS COMMOTION.
The Protestant Reformation a great Revival of Religion and Social
Prayer-Revival of this period and American Liberty-Revived Social Prayer-Prepared for the investigation of the subject of the PrayerMeeting-State of the Country and of Religion when the Revival came-Revival Sketches-Features of this Revival-In its Commencement-Conducted by Union Prayer-meetings-Its spirit rapidly pervaded the country-In its Prayer-meetings “The earth helped the woman "--Xenia Convention-Unparalleled Political agitation, from 1850 to 1860-Intense around the Slavery question--God chose such time for this Revival.
The period of wide-spread revivals and prayer-meetings 1857-1859. THIS 'HIS century, early in its third quarter, witnessed one
of the most extensive revivals of religion, and of social prayer, fruitful in results, finding a place in the history of the church since the Reformation. The great Protestant Reformation was itself a great and permanent revival of evangelical religion. It revived truth, almost buried in the mass of antichristian corruptions and gross error. It revived practical godliness, and turned its converts to prayer and other Christian duties, plain and simple, as taught in the word of God and enforced by Christ and his Apostles. It turned away the Christian life and walk from the commandments of men, to the precepts and institutions of Christ. It revived experimental piety by pouring out upon the church a spirit of grace and supplications 17